- Commuting to Cal Poly from home saves over $10,000 per year.
- Students generally don’t feel they are missing out on a college experience.
- Parents of students appreciate saving money and spending more time with their children.
- Driving to and from campus can be a hassle.
When you think of college living situations, you probably imagine 20-year-old best friends struggling to get A’s in school while living in a messy house with dirty dishes and beer cans as decorations. At Cal Poly, this is most likely the scenario. However, there is a small portion of students that skip the dorms and commute from home instead. From Atascadero to Arroyo Grande, students choose to live at home with their family and drive to school each day.
Why live at home?
- Saves money.
- Free groceries & home-cooked meals.
- Higher quality of living.
- Easier transition to college.
- Avoid bad roommates.
Saving $10,000 a year on rent
Forget the costs of tuition at Cal Poly, it’s the cost of living in SLO that is the real burden on your bank account.
Alejandro Saenz, first-year nutrition major, lives with his family in Grover Beach (15 minutes from Cal Poly) in order to save money on living and dining expenses. “Is it worth $10,000 to live with someone else you may or may not like and pay for terrible food? I don’t think so,” said Saenz.
Jade Zuspan’s story is a little different. Now a second-year graphic design major, Jade and her family moved from Colorado to San Luis Obispo just months before her time at Cal Poly started. Jade’s parents had decided if she were to attend Cal Poly, the family would all move together to SLO in order to get in-state tuition and have her live at home.
Jade now lives in Cedar Creek apartments where she pays for rent and groceries with her own money. Living at home rather than the dorms during her first year helped lower the costs for her family immensely.
Missing out on the college experience?
Although Saenz does not have a past experience to compare to his current living situation, he feels as though is not missing out on a big part of his college life. He spends most of his study hours away from home and has friends to spend time with on campus.
“To be honest I think it would be nice to get to know some people and always be around campus since I love Cal Poly”, commented Saenz.
Zuspan was limited to making friends within her major classes. “I feel that I missed out on being forced to get to know people I would not normally interact with and being fully immersed in college life,” expanded Zuspan. However, she enjoyed being able to the ability to get away from campus and fully relax at home.
On the other hand, Sayoa Jodar, second-year history major, had the opportunity to live in the dorms during her first year at Cal Poly and in an apartment with friends during her second year. Originally from Arroyo Grande (20 minutes from Cal Poly), Jodar plans to live at home with her father for her final years at school.
“I’m not going to feel like there’s a massive void in my life because I live 20 minutes away,” said Jodar. She would rather save the money she would otherwise use on rent for her study abroad opportunity.
Walking 10 minutes to class versus driving 20 minutes to class will prove annoying for Jodar. She is “by no means a morning person” and is anticipating to find the drive tedious especially for early morning classes.
Although coming home to the friendly faces of your family is nice, Jodar said she will miss spending so much time with her roommates at her Carhill apartment. There is less effort to see college friends if you live with them versus commuting from home.
“I was not able to sleep in my own bed during the weekends and it all still felt like high school,” commented Zuspan on her living situation during the weekends. Commuting back and forth forced her to plan out her days so that she wouldn’t have to drive several times a day.
On an academic note, Saenz believes his living situation at home is a distraction from his studies. “I force myself to stay at the library on campus as much as possible including weekends,” said Saenz. Family, privacy, and television at home are enough distraction for Saenz to want to stay on campus much of the time.
Parents of commuter students genuinely enjoy the time spent with their children at home. Amelie Zuspan said she was happy that Jade didn’t have to worry about paying bills like she does this year in school.
“I liked being able to have healthy food for her and help lighten her load by doing little things to help out,” added Amelie. Living from home the first year tends to make the college transition easier. Jade’s food allergies were another reason for her mother to want her to eat at home rather in the dorm cafeterias.
On the downside, Amelie was aware of the possibility of missing out on the dorm experience. “It made me feel guilty and sad at times that I couldn’t provide that experience for her,” said Amelie. Jade’s mother understand her independent personality and could tell that living at home wasn’t her ideal living situation for college.
“She’s my daughter and I love her and I will always be here for her. I think sometimes it’s difficult for young kids these days to make it with student loans and good jobs being hard to come by, I think that’s what family is for,” concluded Amelie.
Tags: Carhill apartments, Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach, commuting to Cal Poly, Cal Poly tuition